Operator's Ohio coaster tour takes off

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WATERVILLE, Ohio -- Tim Dagg, owner of Pat's Specialty Tours & Travel here, has some pretty big plans for an operation of only four employees.

Dagg said he wants travel agents to know that his recently launched Ohio Roller Coasters tour is another option for clients who might have overdone Disney the last couple of years.

"We just want agents to know that there's another theme-park product to sell for summer family vacations," Dagg said.

Six Flags Worlds of Adventure's Batman Knight Flight hits speeds of 65 mph and is the world's longest roller coaster at 4,210 feet. The program certainly is unique. Departing from Cleveland, the four-night plan includes admission to Six Flags World of Adventure in Aurora, Wyandot State Lake Park in Powell, Paramount's Kings Island in Kings Island and Cedar Point in Sandusky.

The tours, slated for July 4 and Aug. 5, begin at $699 per person, double (off-season discounts are available).

Commission is 10%, but Dagg said he would work with agents and reward higher commissions for larger groups.

Besides park admission, rates cover accommodations, motorcoach transportation, daily breakfast, a farewell dinner and a year's membership in American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE), an organization Dagg has been a member of since its inception in 1978.

The tour is escorted by an ACE member who "knows the history of the parks and the history of the coasters we ride," Dagg said.

It would be safe to say that Dagg has always had a one-track mind. He spent 11 years marketing two different theme parks and was an ad director at Roller Coaster magazine. After a stint at Mayflower Tours, he set up shop just outside Toledo.

"Roller coasters have always been a hobby of mine," Dagg said. "So when I acquired my own agency two-and-half-years ago, I figured I'd give it a shot."

So far it appears to be working. With very little marketing money, Dagg said he was able to run a successful inaugural tour last year.

"The success of this tour will come slow and steady," he said. "It's just a matter of getting the word out."

Dagg said his tour is aimed at bringing visitors from "all over," because most residents from Ohio's surrounding states have been to the itinerary's theme parks.

"We're interested in opening up new markets with this tour," he said. "I'm trying to draw visitors here who otherwise would never come to Ohio."

For more information, call (800) 589-5580 or visit www.patsspecialtytours.com.

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